Friday, November 28, 2008

Hogle Zoo in a Whole New (Christmas) Light

No, you're not seeing things. We're back. Its been a number of months since we've posted to the Things To Do, Utah blog. Although I didn't think that many people were reading our blog, the numbers, even though small, continued day after day over the past months. So, we're back and ready to share more about Things To Do, Utah.

'Tis the season, for Christmas lights!

There are a lot of displays out there, some for free, some will cost a little to get into, but most are worth it for a family night out (or even for the parents to get away).

Those of you who've read the blog in the past know that Hogle Zoo is one of our favorite places. Well, a new tradition, Zoo Lights are back again this year and bigger and better than ever. With over one million lights and animated animal displays made of lights, this is one fantastic place to be. It may get chilly at night, but the zoo has provided areas to warm up under heaters. And of course, don't forget the real animals.

Zoo Lights is an extra feature at the zoo, so your membership doesn't get you in for free, but you do get a discount with your membership. If you don't have a membership, the cost is $6.00 for adults, and $4.00 for seniors and children. With membership, admission is $5.00 for adults, and $3.00 for seniors and children.

But here is an even better way to see the lights and save a little money. Head down to Macey's Grocery Stores and pick up a Zoo Lights voucher from the customer service desk. The voucher will get you into Zoo Lights on Thursday evenings for only $3.00 per person (zoo membership or not).

So, kick off your Christmas season with Zoo Lights at Hogle Zoo!

Event: Zoo Lights at Hogle Zoo.
Location: 2600 Sunnyside Avenue, Salt Lake City, Utah
Phone: 801-582-1631
Date and Times: November 29 to December 31st, 2009; Sunday through Thursday, 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. (grounds close at 9 p.m.), Friday and Saturday, 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. (grounds close at 10 p.m.).
Cost: Without zoo membership, $6.00 for adults and $4.00 for children and seniors; With zoo membership, $5.00 for adults and $3.00 for children and seniors; With Thursday night vouchers from Macey's, $3.00 per person.

View Larger Map

Distance from:
Salt Lake City (downtown): 4.8 miles
Ogden: 41.3 miles
Provo: 48 miles
Logan: 86.8 miles

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Neil Diamond (Impersonator) in Taylorsville, June 28, 2008

It is, once again, Taylorsville Dayzz! My family looks forward to this great community festival every year.

The Valley Regional Park is filled with food, rides, games and auto shows. The Taylorsville Recreation Center is letting people try out the rock climbing wall, the batting cages and the gym and exercise machines for FREE. The pool is open for swimming and you can take a break and read at the Taylorsville Library.

There is music on a couple of stages throughout the day- BUT, the big show is Saturday night. Live, from Las Vegas, headlining at the Riviera Hotel and Casino, is Jay White. White is the only Neil Diamond impersonator officially endorsed by Neil Diamond (and Neil Diamond's mother). I saw him perform last year, and not only does he look a heck of a lot like Neil Diamond, when he sings, you can barely tell the difference between White and the real thing. Jay White will be backed up by his own band and our very own West Valley Symphony.

Wrapping up his performance, he will sing the National Anthem that leads into the "Fireworks Extravaganza." The fireworks show, which starts around 10:00 p.m., has only gotten better every year. It is accompanied by a great soundtrack each year. This is, in my opinion, the best FREE fireworks show in the Salt Lake Valley, and probably one of the best in the state.

Taylorsville Dayzz even extends into Monday with a performance by the Utah Symphony. Monday evenings performance by the Symphony will be ended with a performance of the 1812 Overture, accompanied by cannons from the Wasatch Cannoneers. This is an incredible way to hear this amazing work (and nearly the way that Tchaikovsky intended for it to be played).

Taylorsville Dayzz is a great community gathering and a whole lot of fun. Now, excuse me while I prepare to sing along to "Sweet Caroline."

Event: Taylorsville Dayzz
Location: Valley Regional Park, 5100 South 2700 West, Taylorsville
Phone: 801.963.5400
Hours: June 28, 2008, 11:00 a.m. to dark; June 30, 2008, 6:30 p.m. to dark
Cost: FREE, food, rides and games have individual costs associated with them.

View Larger Map
Distance from:
Salt Lake City: 11.3 miles
Ogden: 44.8 miles
Provo: 38.2 miles
Logan: 89.5 miles

Friday, June 27, 2008

We're Back and Traveling Once Again

Sorry, folks. It's been a little while since I've been able to post anything. That pesky day job seemed to get in the way all too often over the last little while.

Having gotten the "day job" out of the way, I've spent a few days rambling around the state with the kids looking into some new places and checking up on some old favorites. I've got a lot of new information and some great places for you to visit. So over the next little while, I'll be posting about all of them.

In the last three days, we have been to:

The Hutchings Museum- Lehi
Timpanogos Cave- American Fork
Cabela's- Lehi
Golden Spike National Historic Site- Promontory
ATK Thiokol Rocket Garden- near Promontory
Marble Park- Bothwell
Bear River Wildlife Refuge- near Willard
BYU Earth Sciences Museum- Provo
BYU Museum of People and Cultures- Provo
Springville Art Museum- Springville
Krishna Temple- Spanish Fork
Bean Life Science Museum- Provo

Besides the gas for all this traveling (1 tank for $73.00), the total cost of entrance to all of this locations- $30.00 for myself and two of my children. The only place we visited that would have raised the cost if we'd had all the kids with us was Timpanogos Cave. Everything else was either free or a set entrance fee per car.

The locations above that have links are places that I've reviewed before and the ones without links are places that I will be reviewing shortly. All my travels around the state of Utah just continue to prove one thing- We have a lot of amazing places, within a short drive, that are either free or inexpensive, and are lots of fun for kids and adults alike.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Events for Saturday, June 7, 2008

Kids are out of school (at least mine are) and summer programs really begin to rev-up this weekend. There are a lot of great events happening around the state and here are a just a few that have got me excited. For more, check out the "Things To Do, Utah" calendar.

The Museum of Anthropology at Utah State University in Logan is holding an "Indiana Jones" marathon. All three movies will be shown and you can also see an exhibit of Petra, one of the locations in "Indiana Jones
and the Last Crusade" (it's where the Knight Templar was hiding).
Movies start at 10:00 a.m. Old Main, Room 252, Utah State University,
Logan, Utah. Admission is FREE.

Cottonwood Heights Parks and Recreation will be holding their movie in the park night. Festivities begin at 7:00 p.m. with inflatable bouncy rides (there is a small fee for these). At 8:00 p.m., a reptile show, "Scales and Tales" will begin. Then at dusk (about 9:00 p.m.), "Shrek the Third" will be shown on a giant 30 foot inflatable movie screen. 1651 East Fort Union Boulevard, Cottonwood Heights. Admission to the reptile show and movie is FREE.

Join the Ogden Astronomical Society and Weber State University on Antelope Island for an evening under the stars. Participants can expect to enjoy beautiful celestial views (weather permitting), and stellar conversation with local astronomers. Meet at White Rock Bay at 9 p.m. If you bring a
flashlight, please make it a red-colored lens. For more information
please call (801) 721-9569. Admission to Antelope Island is $9.00 per car (go earlier and make a day trip out of Antelope Island).

A Park Somewhere In Time

If there is a public park in Utah that is my sentimental favorite, it has to be Copperton Park. It is not nearly as large as Murray Park or have the interactive playground that Discovery Park has, but it has that old fashioned feel of lazy summer days, sipping lemonade in the shade of a large tree. It's like a park from somewhere back in time.

The park is in the center of the township of Copperton at the mouth of Bingham Canyon. It was a town built by Kennecott Copper in the early twentieth century for the employees of the mine. The town is on the National Historic Register and is filled with homes that make you feel that you've walked into another era. At one time, Copperton used to be the gateway to the Kennecott Copper mine visitors center, but, no more. The entrance moved several miles south of town.

I remember as a kid going to Copperton Park with my parents on family outings, numerous parties with different organizations (church, Boy Scouts, etc.) and later on as a teenager, just hanging out with friends on summer evenings.

The park has tennis courts, playgrounds, horseshoe pits, and restroom facilities at the south end of the park. The playground has swings and big slides to play on and includes massive tires from the large dump trucks that work in the mine. My own kids love to play here.

There is a more or less circular path that winds through the park, making its way through and around groves of large trees that are fifty to eighty years old. South of the playgrounds and in the center of the pathway are large grassy areas for kids to run and play. I used to play tag, hide and seek and Frisbee, among other games.

The park has a very quiet and relaxed nature, and I don't think I have ever seen the park overly crowded.

If there was one park I would ever want to own a house next to, it would be Copperton Park. So, if you're planning a picnic, a family get together or a church outing, check out Copperton Park. Just don't forget the lemonade.

Place: Copperton Park
Location: 8731 W 10305 South, Copperton
Phone: 801.483.5473 (Salt Lake County Park and Recreation)
Hours: Dawn to Dark
Cost: FREE

View Larger Map

Salt Lake City: 24.0 miles
Ogden: 56.7 miles
Provo: 41.7 miles
Logan: 101 miles

Friday, June 6, 2008

Feedback Friday for June 6, 2008

Event of the Day for June 6, 2008

Do you like creepy, cheesy old movies? Then you'll love the showings of "The Creature from the Black Lagoon," and its sequel, "Revenge of the Creature" at the Varsity Theatre at BYU. What's better, the movies will be shown in the original 3-D! There will be trivia contests, prizes and a special guest appearance by the Creature himself. Admission for this event is $3.00 per person, but includes both movies, 3-D glasses and popcorn. Doors open at 7:00 p.m., movies begin at 7:30 p.m.

Event: Creature from the Black Lagoon, 3-D marathon
Location: Varsity Theatre, Wilkinson Center, Brigham Young University, Provo
Phone: 801.422.5371
Time: Doors open at 7:00 p.m.
Cost: $3.00 per person

View Larger Map

Distance from:

Salt Lake City: 46.5 miles
Ogden: 81.9 miles
Provo (downtown): 2.3 miles
Logan: 127 miles

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Free Events of the Day for June 5, 2008

There are a few things going on tonight that should be mentioned and all of the events are free to attend:

Tonight at the King's English Bookshop, Heather B. Armstrong, blogger and creator of will be talking about her book, "Things I Learned About My Dad (In Therapy): Humorous and Heartfelt Essays." This will be a chance to hear from and meet Utah's own blogger extraordinaire, currently ranked as one of the top 50 bloggers in the world. That's right- the WORLD! 7:00 p.m. at the King's English, 1511 South 1500 East, Salt Lake City. Admission is FREE.

At 6:30 p.m. at the Olympic Legacy Plaza at the Gateway Mall is "Jazz on the Plaza." Tonight's performance will be by the Steve Lindeman Quintet. Hopefully the weather will have cleared up and it will be a pleasant evening to enjoy some great jazz. 6:30 p.m. at The Gateway, 400 West South Temple, Salt Lake City. Admission is FREE.

Also, don't forget the live animal shows at the Monte L. Bean Museum on the BYU Campus. Tonight's show will focus on Ecosystems. Kids always love these shows. The show begins at 7:30 p.m. at the museum at 645 East 1430 North, BYU Campus, Provo. Admission to both the museum and the live animal shows are FREE.

Utah Trivia Thursday for June 5, 2008

When it comes to transportation and communication in the United States, Utah has played a central role when linking the east and west coasts.

The transcontinental telegraph line was connected in Salt Lake City Utah. The telegraph line coming from Carson City, Nevada was completed on October 18, 1861 and the line coming from Omaha, Nebraska was completed on October 24, 1861. This finally connected the east and west coasts and made communication much faster and easier. In fact, two days after the telegraph line was completed, the Pony Express (which also traveled through Utah) went out of business.

The first transcontinental railroad was completed on May 10, 1869 at Promontory Point, Utah (northwest of Salt Lake City) The Union Pacific built their line coming from the east, starting at Council Bluffs, Iowa and laid 1,087 miles of track. The Central Pacific began in Sacramento, California and laid 690 miles of track. The ceremony to finalize the completion of the railroad at Promontory, Utah became known as the driving of the Golden Spike.

In 1914, on the Utah/Nevada border the Bell Telephone Company of Nevada and the Mountain State Telephone and Telegraph Company spliced together the final wires which finally connected the east and west coasts by telephone. The final telephone pole with a historical marker still stand today in the parking lot of the Silver Smith Casino in Wendover, Utah.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Event of the Day for Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Live jazz music performed by great bands at the Union Station in Ogden. "Jazz at the Station" begins at 7:30 p.m. and admission is FREE.

Event: Jazz at the Station
Location: Union Station, 2501 Wall Avenue, Ogden
Phone: 801.393.9890
Time: 7:30 p.m.
Cost: FREE

View Larger Map

Distance from:
Salt Lake City: 37.2 miles
Ogden (downtown): 0.5 miles
Provo: 78.8 miles
Logan: 47.6 miles

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

See The Stars in Ogden

Brad Pitt?! Angelina Jolie?! Julia Roberts?! George Clooney?!

Wrong kind of stars. We're talking about those little points of light in the sky here. We're talking about the Ott Planetarium at Weber State University.

Many people in Utah think there is just the Clark Planetarium in Salt Lake City, and while it is the most well known in Utah, it isn't the only one. The Ott Planetarium, on the campus of Weber State, offers a great selection of star shows and shows about clouds, the aurora, the Hubble Telescope and more.

It has a smaller theater (it holds just 60 people) than the Clark Planetarium, but by no means does this diminish the educational and entertainment factor. At $2.00 per show for adults and $1.00 per show for kids, it's hard to find a better planetarium value anywhere in the United States.

During the summer, the Ott Planetarium offers the public the "Summer Series," of shows every other Saturday from noon until 4:00 p.m. for FREE. Seating is limited. The planetarium also takes science to the parks in June and July. The "Science in the Parks" program gets kids involved in the "coolness" of science through the 5 different parts of the program- Hear It, See It, Fly It, Feel It, and Build It. These programs run weekdays from 11:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. and are FREE to kids of all ages.

When you visit the Ott Planetarium, don't forget to visit the Museum of Natural Science, located in the same building- the Lind Lecture Hall. For my money, this is one of the greatest little planetariums in the country.

Place: Ott Planetarium
Location: Lind Lecture Hall- Room 203, Weber State University, 1551 Edvalson Street, Ogden
Phone: 801.626.6871 (live Monday through Friday, 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.)
Hours: Varies with season and available shows, see website for more information
Cost: Summer Series shows are FREE (see above, or see website), regular public shows are $2.00 for adults and $1.00 for students (Kindergarten to University), children under 5 are FREE.

View Larger Map

Distance from:
Salt Lake City: 33.8 miles
Ogden (downtown): 3.4 miles
Provo: 75.4 miles
Logan: 50.8 miles

Free Event of the Day for Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Do you like spiders? Do you hate spiders?

Either way, you'll enjoy seeing the 1953 movie, "Tarantula." The movie will be shown at the Salt Lake City Main Library as part of the Utah Museum of Natural History's "Science Movie Night." After the movie is over, Christy Bills, the museum's entomologist will discuss arachnids with the crowd. Come and see the movie and talk about spiders and have some fun creeping yourself out.

Event: Science Movie Night
Location: Salt Lake City Main Library, 210 East 400 South, Salt Lake City
Phone: 801.585.3948
Time: 6:30 p.m.
Cost: FREE

View Larger Map

Distance from:
Salt Lake City (downtown): 0.2 miles
Ogden: 38.0 miles
Provo: 44.3 miles
Logan: 82.7 miles

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Events This Week- June 2 through June 7, 2008

Summer events and activities really kick off this week. There is so much to do that I can't list them all here, so be sure to check the "Things To Do, Utah" calendar (right hand side of the page), or go here for the full calendar. The "Things To Do, Utah" calendar is constantly being updated.

Monday, June 2, 2008
The Utah Museum of Natural History is holding its Free Family Monday. Admission to the museum is FREE all day long, from 9:30 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. From 5:30 to 7:30 there will be science demonstrations in the lobby. Get up to the University and check out an great museum for FREE. 1390 East Presidents Circle, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, Utah.

Live animals shows at the Monte L Bean Museum at 6:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. The subject for the show on Monday nights is: Reptiles. Admission to the museum and animal shows are FREE. 645 East 1430 North, Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah.

The Blue Sky Concert Series presents "The Sphincter Tones" playing oldies but goodies rock and roll music in Pioneer Park in Provo at 7:00 p.m. There will also be short mime and puppetry performances before the music. Admission is FREE. 500 West Center Street, Provo, Utah.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008
Canopy Capers, a family story time for children of all ages will be held at the Provo City Library on the south side of the building, under the canopy at 12:00 p.m. Admission is FREE. 550 North University Avenue, Provo, Utah.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008
Get to the Union Station in Ogden for "Jazz at the Station," for great jazz music by local artists starting at 7:30 p.m. Admission is FREE. Union Station Grand Lobby, 2501 Wall Avenue, Ogden, Utah.

Thursday, June 5, 2008
Head on over to The Gateway Mall in Salt Lake City for an evening of relaxing "Jazz on the Plaza." The Steve Lindeman Quintet will be performing starting at 6:30 p.m. Don't forget to let the kids play in Snowflake Fountain. Admission is FREE. 400 West South Temple, Salt Lake City, Utah.

Friday, June 6, 2008
Murray Park presents Children's Matinees at the Murray Park Gazebo at 2:00 p.m. This week's performance is by Moosebutter. Relax and play in the park and enjoy the fun performance. Admission is FREE. 5065 South State Street (to get to the Gazebo, enter Murray Park from State Street entrance), Murray, Utah.

Saturday, June 7, 2008
Cabela's in Lehi has a whole lot going on today. It is FREE Kids Fishing Day at their trout pond (call for details: 801.766.2500). The Flying High Bicycle Stunt Show will be performed in the parking lot at 10:00 a.m. and again at 3:00 p.m. At 5:00 p.m. Cabela's holds its neighborhood block party in the parking lot. Bring your barbecue and fire them up at 5:00 p.m. and let the kids play yard games. There will be drawings and giveaways for those who participate. Admission is FREE. 2502 West Grand Terrace Parkway, Lehi, Utah.

The Museum of Anthropology at Utah State University in Logan is holding an "Indiana Jones" marathon. All three movies will be shown and you can also see an exhibit of Petra, one of the locations in "Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade" (it's where the Knight Templar was hiding). Movies start at 10:00 a.m. Old Main, Room 252, Utah State University, Logan, Utah.

Cottonwood Heights Parks and Recreation will be holding their movie in the park night. Festivities begin at 7:00 p.m. with inflatable bouncy rides (there is a small fee for these). At 8:00 p.m., a reptile show, "Scales and Tales" will begin. Then at dusk (about 9:00 p.m.), "Shrek the Third" will be shown on a giant 30 foot inflatable movie screen. Admission to the reptile show and movie is FREE.

On A Hot Summer Day, An Olympic Sized Cooldown

When the heat is on in Utah, we all look for a little relief. Some of us retreat to our air conditioned homes, or to indoor shopping malls, or we head down to the local swimming pool.

One of my kids favorite cool down spots is the Gateway Mall in downtown Salt Lake. This is an open-air mall on the west side of downtown that has some of the cool, hip and trendy shops that are seen in a lot of major cities these days. But, the reason we like to visit in the summertime, is the Olympic Legacy Plaza's "Snowflake Fountain."

When the Winter Olympic Games came to Salt Lake in 2002, the Snowflake Fountain was one of its lasting legacies. The fountain is a flat surface at sidewalk level, which allows visitors to The Gateway to stroll right through it. But, beware! Unexpectedly, jets of water shoot up into the air at varying heights. The jets alternate shots of water, fountains and fog to provide a fun visual experience. Every 1/2 hour, music plays and the water fountain "dances" to different selections, including the 2002 Winter Olympic Theme.

The best part is that kids (and adults) are invited to play with the fountain- get involved. Try to make it across the plaza without getting wet, or just stand there and let the water soak you down and cool you off.

There are benches all around the plaza for parents who don't want to get wet, to sit and relax as the children play in the water. Be sure to bring a towel to dry the kids off with and a reason to get them to leave. Once my kids start playing in the water, they don't want to go.

Place: Snowflake Fountain, Olympic Legacy Plaza, Gateway Mall
Location: 400 West South Temple, Salt Lake City
Phone: 801.456.2000
Hours: Summer, Monday through Thursday, 10:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, 10:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m.; Sunday, 12:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.
Cost: FREE

View Larger Map

Distance From:
Salt Lake City (downtown): 1.7 miles
Ogden: 37.7 miles
Provo: 44.1 miles
Logan: 82.4 miles

Saturday, May 31, 2008

Event of the Day for Saturday, May 31, 2008

Hear some music. See some magic.

Murray Arts in the Park presents Magic and Music for Kids with magician Paul Brewer who will entertain the crowd along with the Bear Foot Band.

Event: Magic and Music for Kids
Location: Murray Park Ampitheatre, 5300 South 500 East, Murray
Time: 7:30 p.m.
Cost: $5.00 for adults, kids 12 and under get in free with paying adults

View Larger Map

Distance from:
Salt Lake City: 9.9 miles
Ogden: 45.3 miles
Provo: 36.8 miles
Logan: 90 miles

Head To The Library For Fun?

I know. Libraries are old stodgy buildings filled with lots of old books, where the old spinster librarians constantly shush you to be quiet, and the only time you get to have fun is when you leave. This library is nothing like that.

The Salt Lake City Library's Main Branch in downtown Salt Lake is interesting and inviting from the moment you see the exterior of the building. Once you go inside it only intrigues and excites you even more.

The north and east wall of the building leans inward from the ground up and curves around from the northwest to the southeast, shrinking from five stories down to nearly ground level.

When you enter the building you can see this curve extended through the five story atrium. The atrium has a glass ceiling and feels nearly like you are still outside on the entrance plaza. To the left are shops that sell books, art, flowers, and food; to the right is the library itself.

The building is meant to be explored. It glass walls and elevators and flying staircases let you look out at all the patrons, books and public spaces in the library. Cross one of the bridges from the library side through the atrium to the exterior curved wall for a great place to read or study. Each of the desks has connections for Internet access and the whole building is a wireless hot spot.

Head to top floor and visit the art gallery with its always changing exhibits. From the gallery floor you can walk out onto the rooftop gardens. The gardens, with it plants, trees and pathways, are designed to feel like a hill or mountainside rather than the top of a building and you get an amazing view of the city and the Wasatch Mountains. From the roof, you can either go back down inside the library or walk the top of the exterior curving wall down to the library plaza.

The children's reading area is an great place for kids. It is in the "basement" of the library, but is at the bottom of a 5 story atrium will a glass wall that extends to the ceiling so there is always plenty of light. The kids can explore not only the books but the two special rooms that are hidden underneath the pond on Library Square. One is Grandmother's Attic, built to give a cozy place for kids to curl up with a book. The other is the Crystal Cave, the kind of place to let their imaginations run wild as they pretend to be in another world.

The Children's Area also has a craft room when there are often activities for the kids to participate in. Check the library's website for a list of events for children and adults.

You could spend hours here, playing and exploring, surfing the Internet and grabbing a bite to eat. You might even want to read a book.

Place: Salt Lake City Library's Main Branch
Location: 210 East 400 South, Salt Lake City
Phone: 801.524.8200
Hours: Monday-Thursday 9:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m.; Friday-Saturday 9:00 6:00 p.m.; Sunday 1:00 to 5:00 p.m.
Cost: FREE

View Larger Map

Distance from:
Salt Lake City (downtown): 0.2 miles
Ogden: 38.0 miles
Provo: 44.3 miles
Logan: 82.7 miles

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Go To The Park And Learn Some Science

Taking kids to a park is a great way to get them outdoors, let them play and get some exercise, and peel them away from the television, video games or computers. Most parks have an open place to play ball or Frisbee, some trees to climb, perhaps some basketball or tennis courts, and a standard playground where the kids can swing, slide and hang from the monkey bars.

I recently found a park that has all of the above, but, the playground is anything but standard. This is a playground where the kids can learn about science while they play. They get interactive with experiments while playing and it teaches some cool concepts at the same time.

The park is Novell Children's Discovery Park, part of Manila Park in Pleasant Grove, and is a fantastic place for parents and children.

Discovery Park is broken out into "zones," and each zone has something unique for the kids to do, see, learn, and play with. There are speaking tubes all over the park. Find two tubes that have the same number written on them and kids can talk to each other over short distances. Wow! It's not even a cell phone.

One of my favorites was the whisper dishes. These are two large parabolic dishes (old, six foot tall satellite dishes) that are set about 100 feet apart from each other. Two people stand about two feet in front of each dish and then talk in a normal voice, or even whisper, and you'll be able to hear the other person who is a hundred feet away. My little boy was amazed at how that worked.

Head over to the dinosaur sand pit and see a replica of a Tyrannosaurus Rex skull that the kids can climb into. All around the edges of the sand pit are tiles the explore the geologic timeline, showing something on the tile from each period.

Play a song with metal tubes that are cut at just the right length for each note. Hit the tube with a metal hammer that is attached to each tube and play a note. On a board above the tubes are several songs that show the kids which order to hit the tubes to play each song.

There is an Echo Box that the kids can yell into and hear their own voice echo like they were standing in a canyon. There is an earthquake platform that shows them what the ground might feel like during an earth quake.

When you want to take break, there is Utah Native Plant Garden with benches and tables- one of the tables is a chess board, but you'll need to bring your own chess pieces.

Learn about petroglyph's, animal tracks, rainbows, tree rings, rock types and so much more. Children run, play, swing climb and slide without ever realizing that they are learning about science and why science is cool.

We could have spent hours at this playground, except it started to storm, and we didn't want to learn about lightning firsthand.

Place: Novell Children's Discovery Park (part of Manila Park)
Location: 1550 North 100 East, Pleasant Grove, Utah
Phone: 801.785.6172 (Recreation Department)
Hours: Dawn to Dusk
Cost: FREE

View Larger Map

Distance from:
Salt Lake City: 36.5 miles
Ogden: 71.8 miles
Provo: 12.3 miles
Logan: 117 miles

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Free Event of the Day for May 27, 2008

Tonight at the Orem Public Library is a FREE screening of the movie, "Tom and Viv" about the turbulent relationship between T.S. Eliot and his wife.

Place: Orem Public Library
Location: 51 North State Street, Orem
Phone: 801.229.7050
Time: 6:30 p.m.
Cost: FREE

View Larger Map

Distance from:
Salt Lake City: 40.1 miles
Ogden: 75.5 miles
Provo: 5.0 miles
Logan: 120 miles

Book Talk Tuesday for May 27, 2008

Utah Off the Beaten Path (5th ed.) by Michael Rutter, is one of those books that even Utahns who have lived here their entire lives will find a valuable source of information. Tired of heading to Lagoon, Temple Square, or the park? Look into what this book recommends and you'll see things that maybe you had no idea existed in the state of Utah.

I've often found that the best places to go to do things with the kids aren't ones everyone knows about or that are easy to find. It takes a little searching, some investigation, and even some wandering up and down streets until you find something really cool to do or see. Rutter has done a lot of this work for you and found some of those cool places. Most of what he introduces you to are the best places to go for an adventure. He also gives you some cool and quirky facts.

I have a few minor problems with the book, but nothing that should stand in your way of wanting to use it to find some great places to go in Utah.

The inherent problem with books like this, is that they are outdated. This edition was last printed in 2006, which already makes it a couple of years out of date. Having said that, most of the places listed in the book, are still around or in business, though prices, phone numbers and such MAY have changed since publication.

My other problem is that the photos in the book are in black and white. In this day and age when printing has advanced enough to make color nearly as inexpensive as black and white, why don't publishers give us a little more color. The pictures would be a lot more interesting if they were in color.

But, overall, great book.

This book is a must read. 4 1/2 stars out of 5.

Cabela's = Adventure

Oddly enough, the adventure days that I take my kids on will sometimes step away from the traditional museums, planetariums, parks, etc., and we will go and spend an hour or two at a store. That's right! A place where they try to sell you stuff. Now, I'm not talking about taking my kids to a Super Walmart for the day. I'm referring to truly exceptional stores- places that are not just for selling things, but are a destination by themselves. Cabela's is one of those mind-blowing stores.

Cabela's calls themselves the "World's Foremost Outfitter," and of that I have no doubt. If you want to do something in the outdoors, from your backyard to hunting or fishing in the mountains, Cabela's probably has what you need. Their selection of products is mind-boggling. But, what sets Cabela's apart, and makes it a destination for an adventure day are the displays and attractions all over the store.

When you first walk into the Cabela's in Lehi, you are immediately overwhelmed by everything. Straight in front of you is Conservation Mountain, dominating the store by its sheer two and a half story height and the stuffed animals that are all over it. From moose to polar bears, snakes to wolves, nearly every kind of North American animal you can think of is represented on the mountain. It even has a small waterfall, tumbling into a small pond at the base of the mountain that is filled with live trout. My little boy howled with laughter at the Prairie Dog that was stuck head first in its burrow, legs and tail straight up in the air. It took us nearly an hour to look at Conservation Mountain.

Just when you think there couldn't be more, there is. The aquariums, which are really the floor to ceiling walls of a hallway that you walk through, are breathtaking. Trout, catfish, and fish I'd never seen or could even hope to name are swimming all around you. I'd like to try and catch a fish here, but I'm afraid my pole would snap in half due to the size of those monsters.

Don't miss the African exhibit near the back of the store, with animals that you might not even see in a zoo. There is also the exhibit of animals that inhabit the Rocky Mountain region, complete with an animatronic camper sitting in front of his tent, telling you interesting facts about the Utah outdoors.

Upstairs is a shooting gallery, where for a few quarters, you and the kids can shoot at targets, that when hit, will make animals move, buckets tip over and other funny things happen (the targets are activated by light- no actual ammunition). There is also a deli style restaurant and a general store where you can get all kinds of candy, fudge, jerky and more. Look up and you'll see an actual bush plane suspended overhead, like it's flying over Conservation Mountain.

It may seem a bit strange to head to a store for an adventure, but Cabela's redefines what a store is.

Place: Cabela's (Lehi, Utah)
Location: 2502 West Grand Terrace Parkway, Lehi
Phone: 801.766.2500
Hours: Monday through Saturday, 8:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m.; Sunday, 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.; Holiday and winter hours may be different, call for times.
Cost: FREE (all exhibitions, shooting gallery is extra)

View Larger Map

Distance from:
Salt Lake City: 25.8 miles
Ogden: 61.2 miles
Provo: 20 miles
Logan: 106 miles

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Events This Week- May 26 through May 31

Monday, May 26, 2008
Memorial Day- See the post for things to do on Memorial Day.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008
The Orem Public Library is showing the movie, "Tom and Viv," about the relationship between T.S. Eliot and his wife. The movie is in the auditorium at the library and begins at 6:30 p.m. Admission is FREE. 51 North State Street, Orem, Utah.

Live Animal Show at the Monte L. Bean Museum tonight focuses on Adaptations. The show begins at 7:30 p.m. Admission to the museum and animal shows are FREE. 645 East 1430 North, Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008
The Senior Movie Afternoon is being held at the Salt Lake City Public Library, Main Branch. These are movies for and about seniors. Today's movie is "Mrs. Palfrey at the Claremont," which will begin at 2:00 p.m. Admission is FREE. 210 East 400 South, Salt Lake City, Utah.

Live Animal Show at the Monte L. Bean Museum tonight focuses on Utah Plants & Animals. The show begins at 7:30 p.m. Admission to the museum and animal shows are FREE. 645 East 1430 North, Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah.

Thursday, May 29, 2008
The Utah Cultural Celebration Center, presents a historical exhibit of art from China's Cultural Revolution. Rich in the folk traditions of rural peasant artists, this historical exhibit highlights the impact of politics on artists and their art during Mao's China. Open 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Admission is FREE. 1355 W 3100 South, West Valley City, Utah.

The Nora Eccles Harrison Museum of Arts is showing an interactive art installation featuring 120 Dutch wooden clogs that "dance" a different rhythmic pattern each time the sculpture is activated. The installation was created by the Seattle-based sound sculptor Trimpin. Open from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Admission is FREE. 650 N. 1100 East, Utah State University, Logan, Utah.

Live Animal Show at the Monte L. Bean Museum tonight focuses on Ecosystems. The show begins at 7:30 p.m. Admission to the museum and animal shows are FREE. 645 East 1430 North, Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Looking for some good clean comedy? Try "Laugh Out Loud," a BYU comedy group that is performing its first show of the season tonight. Admission is $1.00. Performance starts at 8:00 p.m. 151 Tanner Building, Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah.

Live Animal Show at the Monte L. Bean Museum tonight focuses on Invertebrates. The show begins at 7:30 p.m. Admission to the museum and animal shows are FREE. 645 East 1430 North, Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah.

Saturday, May 31, 2008
The Utah Museum of Fine Art will be presenting the "Highlights of the Collection" tour at 1:30 p.m. today. This is a FREE 30 minute tour of some of the best art the museum has to offer. Admission is FREE. 410 Campus Center Drive, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, Utah.

The Springville Museum of Art is showing, "Wayne Thiebaud: 70 Years of Painting" and is also hosting the 84th Annual Spring Art Salon. Don't miss the children's gallery in the basement. Museum is open from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Admission is FREE. 126 East 400 South, Springville, Utah.

The Fort Douglas Military Museum presents, "She Wore A Yellow Ribbon," a special exhibit on loan from the Hayes Otoupalik collection. This features uniforms and artifacts from the U.S. Army's cavalry units from 1858 to 1943. Admission is FREE.
32 Potter Street, Fort Douglas, Salt Lake City, Utah.

Live Animal Show at the Monte L. Bean Museum tonight focuses on Reptiles. The show begins at 1:00 p.m. Admission to the museum and animal shows are FREE. 645 East 1430 North, Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah.

Wasatch Mountain State Park presents, "Astronomy: Stories of Light." Join the park naturalist at 9 p.m. for an evening viewing and learning about the stories of light in our night sky. Learn some constellations and get a glimpse of just how big space really is. Program will be held at the campground amphitheater. Weather permitting. Admission is $5.00 per car (see State Parks Memberships for a great deal). Wasatch Mountain State Park is located in the northeast corner of Midway, Utah. Head to Midway and follow the signs.

What To Do On Memorial Day 2008

Monday, May 26, 2008
It's the first big holiday of the 2008 Summer season and there is plenty going on besides laying by the pool and backyard barbeque's. Here's a few things you can get out and do:

At the Hill Aerospace Museum: he Utah Aviation Hall of Fame induction ceremony is set for 9:30 a.m. in the F-16 Special Event Space (inside the Hill Aerospace Museum). Cliff Jolley will become the newest inductee. A memorial service will be held at 10:30 a.m. in the chapel with patriotic readings. To get to the museum from I-15, either northbound or southbound, take Exit 338 and drive east. Information, call 801-777-6818 or visit
Also at the Hill Aerospace Museum at the Memorial Park: Four airmen from Hill who were killed last year in the war will be honored at 11:30 a.m. during a memorial dedication ceremony at the new Hill Air Force Base Memorial Park in a 30-minute ceremony. The airmen being honored are Timothy R. Weiner, Ryan A. Balmer, Elizabeth A. Lonki and Daniel B. Miller. The new park will be dedicated and a memorial plaque with the names of those honored will be unveiled. Four streets will also be re-named for the fallen airmen.

In Eagle Mountain: Y Mountain Productions presents a free family concert with “Goody Two Shoes”, featuring pop, rock, country, jazz, folk, acoustic, and inspirational music.
Also appearing is Impact, an A Cappella singing group.
Location: SilverLake Amphitheater, 7920 N. SilverLake Parkway, Eagle Mountain

Antelope Island: Celebrate Memorial Day weekend at one of Utah's earliest ranches, the historic Fielding Garr Ranch. Learn how the people of Antelope Island lived. Learn to make pioneer handkerchief dolls, pick up a needle and quilt. Dip candles and make a pioneer lantern. Learn pioneer games such as farm ball and race your family in a sack race. Participants will need to bring an empty vegetable or soup can to make their own pioneer lantern.
Also at Antelope Island: Walk in the Park: Bird Walk (May 26, 2008 - May 26, 2008)
Join the park naturalist on a bird walk through historic Field Garr Ranch. Participants should meet at the museum entrance at 11 a.m. For more information, please call (801) 721-9569.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

A "Jurassic Park" Where the Dinosaurs Won't Eat You

If you like dinosaurs, then Utah is an amazing state to be in. Feel free to correct me if I'm wrong, but in my own search of museums in the state that are in whole, or in part, dedicated to dinosaurs, I have found twelve. TWELVE! That is more dinosaur museums than I've found in any other state.

Most people are familiar with Dinosaur National Monument that is located in Utah and Colorado, out near Vernal, Utah. But, are you familiar with any of the other dinosaur museums? There may be one closer to you than you realize.

One that is very unique and really geared towards both adults and children is Ogden's George S. Eccles Dinosaur Park. I remember the first time I took my kids to the park. They were enthralled with the dinosaurs that we found around every bend in the winding paths, and I was just as interested as they were. They nearly jumped out of their shoes when, after having just found a dinosaur, it roared loudly at them.

The Eccles Dinosaur Park has quite a few attractions that make it so much fun to visit. There are more than 100 life-sized statues of dinosaurs throughout the park, including predators, marine animals and flying reptiles, that are brought to life through attention to detail, robotics and sound systems.

Quite a few of the dinosaurs in the park were indigenous to Utah. Remember the Velociraptor from the "Jurassic Park" movies? Wuss! The park has a replica of the Utahraptor, a ferocious dinosaur discovered in 1993 in Grand County, that would have eaten Velociraptor's lunch.

Through movies and books we've become familiar with many types of dinosaurs such as the Tyrannosaurus Rex and Triceratops. What makes the Eccles Dinosaur Park so fascinating is that it also has replicas of truly weird species of dinosaurs from other parts of the world such as South America and Asia.

Before, or after you are done wandering the park, head into the Elizabeth Dee Shaw Stewart Museum. The museum contains many of the recent dinosaur fossil finds from around Utah and around the world. Full skeletons of dinosaurs are on display and you can watch people working in the lab to prepare more dinosaur bones and teeth for display.

Take the kids and go on over to the Geode Mine where they can dig for gems, pan for gold and crack geodes with the geode splitter. They can even keep the gems they find when they go digging.

The park also has an education center that my kids loved. They got to see exhibits and color dinosaurs pages to take home with them. There is a fun, dinosaur themed playground for the little ones and picnic tables scattered around the east side of the park.

Eccles Dinosaur Park is one of those places I've mentioned before that offer family memberships. A basic family membership will cost $60.

Spend a day with the dinosaurs (other than Barney). If your kids are anything like mine they'll enjoy the day and then exhaustedly fall asleep that night with smiles on their faces.

Place: Ogden's George S. Eccles Dinosaur Park
Location: 1544 East Park Boulevard, Ogden (located at the mouth of Ogden Canyon)
Phone: 801.393.3466
Hours: Memorial Day to Labor Day, Monday through Friday 10:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m., Sunday 12:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.; Off-season, Monday through Friday 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., Sunday 12:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.
Cost: Children 1 and Under: Free! 2 to 12 Years Old: $5.00; Students with ID: $6.00; Adults: $7.00; Senior Citizens 62+: $6.00

View Larger Map

Distance from:
Salt Lake City: 44.1 miles
Ogden (downtown): 3.6 miles
Provo: 85.8 miles
Logan: 49.3 miles

Friday, May 23, 2008

Events for May 24, 2008

Being that it's Memorial Day weekend, there are a lot of things going on, that are free or inexpensive, all over the state. Here are a selection of a few that look like fun.

Camp Floyd State Park in conjunction with the Utah Civil War Association are hosting a Civil War Encampment on Memorial Day Weekend at Camp Floyd State Park. The event will allow visitors to experience camp life and participate in several activities performed by soldiers of Johnston's Army; learn to drill and march, load and fire a Civil War period rifle, watch a battle and medical display. Bring your picnic and have lunch with a soldier and participate in 1861 period games. The events will be conducted on both Saturday May 24th and Monday, May 26, 2008. All events are free of charge. Standard museum entrance fees of $2 per person or $6 per family still apply.
Directions: From I-15; take the Lehi exit #279, which is Lehi's Main Street. Continue west along this street, which eventually turns into Hwy 73. Continue along this highway to the town of Fairfield, approximately 22 miles from Lehi. Once in Fairfield, follow the highway signs into the park.
Park Information

Head out to Antelope Island and celebrate Memorial Day weekend at one of Utah's earliest ranches, the historic Fielding Garr Ranch. Learn how the people of Antelope Island lived. Learn to make pioneer handkerchief dolls, pick up a needle and quilt. Dip candles and make a pioneer lantern. Learn pioneer games such as farm ball and race your family in a sack race. Participants will need to bring an empty vegetable or soup can to make their own pioneer lantern.
Directions: Take Exit 332 off Interstate 15, then drive west on Antelope Drive to the park entrance.

Eagle Mountain — 7 p.m., a free family concert at the SilverLake amphitheater, 7920 N. SilverLake Parkway, performed by Y Mountain Productions (BYU students) in a presentation called "Good Two Shoes," featuring pop, rock, country, jazz, folk and acoustic music. Also appearing is an a cappella group "Impact." Eagle Mountain will celebrate Military Appreciation Week. City officials are collecting donations for care packages to be sent to local deployed military personnel. Donation boxes will be available May 27-30 at City Hall, Eagle Mountain Elementary, Pony Express Elementary and the Ranches Academy, and also at the Memorial Day concert.

The Salt Lake Astronomical Society will be holding a public star party on Saturday evening at the Stansbury Park Observatory Complex. Head on out to Stansbury Park and get a great view of the planets, stars and galaxies through the great telescopes they have at the observatory. The evening will begin at dusk as objects become visible and will include a 30-45 minute program.
Directions: From Salt Lake City, take I-80 West and exit at the Tooele/Granstville exit. Continue south until the road forks to Grantsville. Take the right fork and go about 1 mile, to the west entrance of Stansbury Park. Turn in and take the first right to the parking lot. The observatory is located west of the parking area just past the skateboard park.

Have Mountains of Fun for Molehills of Money

In previous posts, I've talked about how to use memberships to zoos, museums, etc. to stretch your activity dollars. Memberships can do two things; get you and your family into an attraction like a zoo, multiples times for one price, and many memberships come with reciprocal agreements that can get you into other attractions, museums, aviaries, state parks and more.

This post is about how to save money on activities with your family, when going someplace only once, or to a place that doesn't have a membership plan.

More and more places are trying to get you to spend your money at their place of business, including museums, parks, festivals, and such. These days, most of these attractions have internet sites that give you information about the location, the hours, admission prices and things to do while you are visiting. They may have printouts that you can take with you, or information to help you enjoy what you are going to see. They may also have coupons on their website that you can print to save money. Check websites before you go and see if printable coupons are available. Not every place with have them every time, but, when you can find them, that is the time to go.

If the website for a place that you would like to visit has an email newsletter- sign up! These newsletters may contain coupons and they will advise you of free or reduced admission days if there are any.

One great way to ensure that you have a coupon to save money is to buy a coupon book for your region. One coupon book that we purchase each year is the Entertainment Book! Right now is the best time because all books are only $9.99! (normally $25.00) These books contain coupons for, 50% off, or 2-for-1 deals, FREE admissions, and on and on. They also include coupons for restaurants, so if on one of your outings you wanted to stop somewhere for food, you've got a coupon.

Lastly, watch the "Things To Do, Utah" blog as well as the websites for your favorite places to visit. Many places such as museums or state parks will have days that you can get in for FREE. They may sponsor an activity or event at a park or some other location that is FREE.

The most important thing is to take advantage of what you can, when you can, when it is offered. You can have all sorts of fun with your family year round and it doesn't have to break the bank.

Feedback Friday for May 23, 2008

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Free Event of the Day for May 23, 2008

"Let's Go Fly A Kite."

Children ages 6-11 can make and fly their kite at 4:00 p.m. at the Draper Library, 1136 E. Pioneer Road, Draper. FREE Admission.

Event: Kite Making at the Draper Library
Location: 1136 East Pioneer Road, Draper
Phone: 801.943.4636
Time: 4:00 p.m.
Cost: FREE

View Larger Map

Distance from:
Salt Lake City: 19.4 miles
Ogden: 54.8 miles
Provo: 28.4 miles
Logan: 99.5 miles

Utah Trivia Thursday for May 22, 2008

Did you know that Father Silvestre Vélez de Escalante and Father Francisco Atanasio Domínguez, Franciscan missionaries, were the first two men of European descent to see Utah Lake, the second largest lake in the state of Utah in 1776. But after reaching Utah Lake, they turned and headed south, not realizing that a much larger and stranger lake was only about 35 miles to the north. They just missed seeing the Great Salt Lake.

The first man of European descent to see the Great Salt Lake is often credited to Jim Bridger, a famous mountain man. He did not arrive there until 1824- 48 years after Fathers Dominguez and Escalante.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Free Event of the Day for May 22, 2008

Hear the Mormon Tabernacle Choir rehearse.

Each Thursday evening in the historic Mormon Tabernacle on Temple Square, in downtown Salt Lake City, the Tabernacle Choir rehearses their music for upcoming performances. If you are unable to make it to one of their Sunday performances of "Music and the Spoken Word," take the opportunity to hear them on Thursday nights.

Event: Mormon Tabernacle Choir Rehearsal
Location: Tabernacle, Temple Square, Salt Lake City
Time: 8:00 p.m.
Cost: FREE

View Larger Map

Distance from:
Salt Lake City: 0 miles
Ogden: 36.6 miles
Provo: 46.2 miles
Logan: 81.3 miles

More Firetrucks Than You Can Shake A Hose At

It's instinct. When we hear a siren, we stop, look around, find the emergency vehicle and wonder where it's going. Most little kids love police cars and fire engines. It could be the flashing lights and sirens. It could be the police officers and firefighters. Whatever it is, many kids, and adults find these vehicles amazing.

If fire engines, firefighters and a sense of history intrigue you and your kids, then you need to head out to Grantsville to the Desert Peak Complex. This is where the Utah Firefighters Museum is located and they have a mind boggling collection of fire trucks and other equipment that looks right into the history of Utah firefighting.

There are over 50 fire engines from all different eras, starting in 1914. The museum also has 3 horse drawn and 9 hand cart fire apparatus. You can also see many different kinds of helmets and firefighting gear that has been used for the last century.

Outside is a touching memorial area where Utah firefighters who have given their lives in the line of duty are properly remembered.

I don't know if it's all the bright shiny fire trucks or being surrounded by reminders of heroism, but this museum made my heart race and my adrenalin run just like when I was a kid watching a fire truck race past us on the road.

Place: Utah Firefighters Museum
Location: Grantsville,the museum is in the Desert Peak Complex on SR 112.
Phone: 435.884.3376
Hours: Friday and Saturday, 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. (and by appointment)
Cost: FREE

View Larger Map

Distance from:
Salt Lake City: 34.7 miles
Ogden: 68.0 miles
Provo: 73.1 miles
Logan: 111 miles

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Free Event of the Day for May 21, 2008

Would you like to know how to make awesome creations with balloons?

Balloon Animals Workshop by Mont Magic is for children 7 and older (accompanied by an adult) who will learn to twist and tie balloons into animal shapes.

Event: Balloon Animals Workshop
Location: Riverton Library, 12877 South 1830 West, Riverton
Phone: 801.943.4636
Time: 7:00 p.m.
Cost: FREE (tickets will be handed out 15 minutes before the show)

View Larger Map

Distance from:
Salt Lake City: 20.5 miles
Ogden: 55.9 miles
Provo: 29.7
Logan: 101 miles

Book Talk Tuesday for May 20, 2008

The Utah Guide, 3rd. ed., by Kent Powell, at nearly 500 pages is a hefty attempt to catalog Utah attractions, yearly events and festivals, trails, scenic settings, accommodations, and restaurants throughout the state.

The book mentions many of the places that the previous books I've reviewed in Book Talk Tuesdays have covered, but with some of the depth. The book is well organized by geographic regions (the author has broken Utah into six regions), and each region by area, and then by type of listing; places to see, events and festivals, restaurants, etc. Powell gives good, short descriptions of most places so that you get a fairly good idea of what there is to do or see at each location. There are three inset sections with color pictures from around the state, almost all of which are mentioned in the book. Powell also does a good job in keeping to things that are of interest to a wide variety of people rather than pointing out things that might have such a narrow interest that most readers would skip pages in order to find the good stuff.

As good as this book is, there are a few drawbacks. In trying to pack so much information into one book, the print is fairly small, which, for some of us can make the book difficult to read. The amount of material also seems to be a limiting factor in descriptions of places. It seems Powell wanted to get so much packed into the book that he couldn't always write as much information as he could (or should) have about many of the places.

My biggest complaint about the book, though, is its age. While still a valuable resource, it's in its 3rd edition and was last published in 2003, making it five years out of date. Most of the attractions and sights mentioned in the book are still there, but some are not. Phone numbers and website address also have a tendency to change over time, so all the information is not completely accurate. Also, the pricing guides that he uses to give you an idea of the general cost, are now out of date as well, sometimes significantly.

Overall, the book lists many great places to see and things to do in Utah, but it needs to be brought a bit more up to date.

Suggested Reading: 3 1/2 stars out of 5

A Tale of Two Houses

Utah, as most people know, was settled by Mormon pioneers. One of the reasons the Salt Lake Valley, on the eastern edge of the Great Basin, was selected by Brigham Young was its isolation from the rest of the United States. In fact, when the pioneers arrived in the valley, Utah was still technically a part of Mexico.

Being so isolated, far away from the eastern United States and the "civilization" many of the pioneers were used to, often makes people wonder what life was like out here in the 19th century. There are two wonderful, contrasting examples of homes that the pioneers lived in, right in the middle of downtown Salt Lake City.

The first home is a typical log cabin, built from trees cut in the nearby canyons. The cabin was home to the William Henry Deuel family for less than two years after they arrived in the valley. It is one of only two original structures from that period that remain intact. It has been fully restored and is preserved with pioneer artifacts inside to show what life would have been like for a typical family in the early days in the Salt Lake Valley. During the summer, there is often a volunteer at the cabin, dressed in period clothing explaining what daily life was like for the pioneers.

The other home is The Beehive House, the residence of Brigham Young. Built in 1854, seven years after the arrival of the pioneers, it is an amazing example of what could be done by people living so far away from "civilization." The building was designed by Truman O. Angell who also designed the Salt Lake Temple. This was a large house, built with many rooms, including the playroom, the gracious sitting room, the fairy castle, and the family store.

There is a FREE 30-minute tour available of the Beehive House which has many of the original pieces of furniture, stoves, and even clothing on display, much the way it was in the 1850's. The tour guides point out things that are interesting to both children and adults. My first tour of the Beehive House was when I was about 7 years old and I found it fascinating. I've gone back numerous times since, both as a child and as an adult.

The Deuel Cabin and the Beehive House are within two blocks of each other; an easy walking distance, and in the blocks between is the Temple Square complex, with beautiful gardens and more historic buildings.

Places: The Deuel Cabin and The Beehive House
Location: 50 North West Temple and 67 East South Temple (respectively), Salt Lake City
Phone: 801.240.2671
Hours: The Deuel Cabin, dawn to dusk; The Beehive House, Monday through Saturday, 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Cost: FREE

View Larger Map

Distance from:
Salt Lake City: 0 miles
Ogden: 37 miles
Provo: 44.7 miles
Logan: 81.7 miles

Monday, May 19, 2008

Free Event of the Day for May 20, 2008

Watch a classic movie.

Stewart at 100: Brigham Young University will mark the centennial of James Stewart's birth - May 20, 1908 - with screening of "You Can't Take It With You," the 1938 Best Picture Oscar winner. 7:00 p.m.(doors open at 6:30 p.m.) at the Harold B. Lee Library auditorium on the BYU campus in Provo. Ages eight and older.

Event: Movie screening- "You Can't Take It With You"
Location: Harold B. Lee Library Auditorium, Brigham Young University, Provo
Time: 7:00 p.m.
Cost: FREE (ages 8 and older)

View Larger Map

Distance from:
Salt Lake City: 46.6 miles
Ogden: 81.9 miles
Provo: 2.3 miles
Logan: 127 miles

Free Event of the Day for May 19, 2008

Want to see snakes and lizards up close and personal?

The BYU Monte L. Bean Museum is presenting its live animal show on Monday evening at 6:30 p.m. and again at 7:30 p.m. Tonight's topic is reptiles.

After the animal show, take the opportunity to see all the amazing exhibits on display of the plant and animal world. The kids will love it.

Place: Monte L. Bean Life Science Museum
Location: 645 East 1430 North, Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah
Phone: 801.422.3963
Hours: Mon.-Fri. 10 a.m. to 9 p.m, Sat. 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Closed Sunday
Cost: FREE

View Larger Map

Distance from:
Salt Lake City: 44.5 miles
Ogden: 79.9 miles
Provo (downtown): 2.3 miles
Logan: 125 miles

Sunday, May 18, 2008

An Island in the Middle of the Desert

One of the places that I've taken my kids more than any other seems to be an anomaly when living on the deserts edge- an island in the middle of an ocean-like lake.

Antelope Island is the largest island of the eight on the Great Salt Lake. You access the island by driving out on a 7 mile long causeway that gives the impression of flying low across the water. You enter the island at the northern tip and immediately see a small marina where boat owners dock while not sailing the lake (yes, you can sail on the Great Salt Lake).

There is a road system on the island that gets you to the major points of interest, but by and large the island is free of roads, particularly at the southern end of the island, where there is even a dearth of hiking trails.

One of the first stops to make is the visitors center that you see sitting atop a hill above the entrance to the island. The visitors center has information and exhibits about the history, geology and habitat of the island. Get a sense of the island at the visitors center, ask state park rangers any questions you might have, get your bearings and decide what to see.

One of the most interesting drives is along the east coast of the island, south to the Fielding Garr Ranch. The ranch house is the oldest continuously occupied house in the state of Utah and the oldest house on its original foundation. There are activities going on quite often at the ranch. My kids loved learning how to dip candles. Check the events schedules to know when things are going on.

On your drive down to the ranch, keep an eye out for the herd of roaming bison. About 500 live on the island and graze in the open rangeland most of the year. Once a year they are rounded up and brought to the corral for checkups and thinning the herd.

There are several trails on the island for hiking or biking. Some are shorter than a mile and the longest ones run about 7 1/2 miles. Two of my favorites are the short, Buffalo Point trail at the north end of the island and the slightly longer Frary's Peak trail. The trail to Buffalo Point is less than 1/2 mile long and is a fun hike for kids and adults alike. From there you get a great view of the lake looking north. The Frary's Peak trail is a bit longer at 3 1/4 miles, but takes you to the tallest peak on the island. It is a bit steeper than the Buffalo Point trail, but my kids still were able to hike it with a few stops along the way.

Camelbak Backpacks: Free Shipping

If you're hot and tired after a hike, head down to Bridger Bay, a developed beach with campgrounds nearby. Take a dip in the lake, but be warned. With low lake levels, the water has not been close to the white sandy beach for a while and it may take a short trek to get to the water's edge. Also, once you get to the water, you will need to make your way through a swarm of brine flies, but once past them, the lake is is fun to play in and is shallow enough for the littlest of kids. If you want a little deeper water, just walk out a little further. Once you are done in the water, head back to the beach and shower off- unless you want to be encrusted in salt when you dry off.

My advice, when heading out to see attractions around the state is always to bring food and drinks with you- it's cheaper that way. But, Antelope Island does have concessions, and the one thing you may want to try is a buffalo burger, just to say you did.

There is no end to adventure on Antelope Island, so be prepared to spend an entire day, and like myself and my family, make follow up trips to go where you didn't get to go on your first trip to the island.

Place: Antelope Island State Park
Location: Take Exit 332 off Interstate 15, then drive west on Antelope Drive to the park entrance.
Phone: 801.773.2941
Hours: May through September: 7 a.m. - 10 p.m. / November through February: 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. / March: 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. / April: 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. / October: 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Visitor Center and Fielding Garr Ranch Hours: September 15 to April 14: 9a.m. to 5 p.m. / April 15 to September 14: 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Cost: $9.00 per car

View Larger Map

Distance from:
Salt Lake City: 40.2 miles
Ogden: 24.8 miles
Provo: 81.8 miles
Logan: 69.5 miles